Quilter’s Block

Enter now into the creative void.  I’m stuck.  I think it is because the weather has turned so amazing that I no longer want to spend hours in my basement like fungi, sewing.  I’m in between projects and feel a little uninspired creatively and more inspired physically.  I’ve had my bike out lots and have started to prepare for my next running race (the Toronto 10 Miler).  I’m a bit excited about my fitness level this season.  I feel really strong after the marathon in both running and oddly enough, cycling too.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can crank out this race season.

Perhaps what I need is to buy some new fabric … ?  I should be using this great weather as a push to make myself some new summer threads since I apparently have NOTHING worth donning in my closet.  What in the hell did I wear last summer?  Every year it’s the same question isn’t it?  Although last summer I had a new born and the summer before I was pregnant so I’m thinking I wasn’t the picture of style two years running.  Maybe some new fabric could help with that.  Visions of pretty skirts and tops are taking shape….   hmm…. maybe there’s some inspiration there afterall.

Here we go Again!

When I started this blog I thought I would be focusing all my content on sewing/quilting/creating things.  As I’ve navigated my way thru this far, I realise that I can’t limit my creative energy to only “material things”.  A huge part of who I am is linked to endurance sport.  Until I started this, it hadn’t occurred to me how many comparisons and metaphors there are between the two things.  For example, when you make a 5 month commitment to training for a marathon, it’s not hard to see how you could take on the making of a king-sized houndstooth quilt.  The devil is in the details really – every day you accomplish a little bit and then at some point you look back and see your hard work all coming together. 

Having just finished the Mississauga Marathon, I’m doing some reflecting on the experience and thinking ahead to my next goal.  Maybe I’m never satisfied…. entirely possible. Any how, I planned on finally beating 4 hrs and for the 3rd time, the mark eludes me.  I’m slowly chiseling away at my time (literally minutes at a time) but still wind up short (or too long as it is) of my goal.  I could come up with a number of “reasons” for why I didn’t make the cut: i was on antibiotics for a sinus infection, I had a sick baby keeping me up the week before, I tapered too soon, I should have run more – all true but in the end it just doesn’t matter.  I didn’t do it and the goal is still hanging over me.  So what am I going to do about it?

Move on to the next one.  I’m considering the Toronto Waterfront Marathon again.  I ran it several years ago (my first) and have done the half there twice.  I am familiar with the course and it literally goes thru my neighbourhood.  The real question is: do I want to take on the huge training again?  Intellectually I do but i am afraid a month or so in that i will get bored of it.  The reason I became interested in triathlon was exactly that.  How could you get bored of 3 sports?   I’m also considering another cycling event.  I feel lost if i don’t have a significant goal to work towards so whatever I choose has to be of substantial difficulty to me.  

I’m thinking I’ll get back in the pool and hit the road on my favorite ride and see what grabs me.  I have my sights on a sprint tri in August (it’s actually 1k/33k/7k) so that feels like enough of a challenge at this point considering I haven’t done one in 3 years.  After that there is a local 10 miler Ive been wanting to give a shot.  It’s a perfect tune up race for the marathon should i choose to go ahead with it.  Meanwhile, marathon training will start june 17 so that gives me some time to see how I’m feeling about doing another or perhaps a long course cycling event.    Oh and I have to return to work from mat leave in september so I guess I shouldn’t pick a race for the fall that’s going to kill me.

What a shame to have so many options…. life is good:))

 

First Race of 2013

We have lived in our neighbourhood for 5 years now and had never run this local event until today. It was the Harry’s Spring Run Off 8k and 5k race thru High Park . As a long distance runner, I’ve typically stayed away from shorter events thinking I wouldn’t do well given my lack of fast twitch fibres. This year my husband and I entered with our daughter in our Chariot CX and planned to make it a family thing rather than a race (the competitor in me struggled a bit with this approach).

Race-ready onesie

We laced up and lined up at the very back of the last corral where the other stroller pushers had been forced to wait too- some like us, more like horses chomping at the bit, just dying to get out with the pack. The gun went off and Scarlett started to squawk like an enthusiastic siren as we weaved thru the crowd blazing past every one we came up against. Running a race with a running stroller is a complete obstacle course- a life-threatening one at that! We hit every kilometer with ease and finished strong up the big hill to the finish line.

In the end we were the first stroller runners to finish- Scarlett was in first place! Although our pace was restricted by the slower runners ahead of us, I still finished 12th out of 151 women in my age group- a PB for sure!

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When I looked at the times of the women who finished ahead of me, I realized had I been running with my pace matched corral I would have placed 4th or 5th in my age group based on my usual speed work pace!

So today I:
1. Set a new PB
2. Ran a new distance in a race
3. Competed for the first time with my husband and baby girl
4. Introduced my Daughter to the world of athletic competition

And this is why you should never under estimate the value of completing the smaller objectives- you just never know what you could crank out.

The Long Run

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Running long.  Might not be logical to anyone else, but to me, the reason I find bliss in the grueling Long Run is obvious :  during the run at the exact moment I think I can’t do it- that I can’t possibly take another step- I do.  It’s this bold and relentless internal competitor living inside me that propels me forward.  It’s just me out there against myself, pushing harder than the last time.  You see, the mid-week runs are tricky- the week is busy, there’s a million other things you’d like to get done, they feel like a nuisance. But the Long Run is revered.  You think about it all week long.  Strategize.  Psych yourself up.  Set goals : just get ‘er done, run till you puke, stick your race pace, slow and steady- whatever the week dictates. You need to plan just right- consume enough water and calories, get enough sleep, take in a good meal and some, but not too much wine/beer to relax night before,  and of course, enough coffee to turbo boost yourself out of bed at 0600 when the rest of the street is still enjoying their weekend slumber (especially if you got a little too relaxed!).

When you are dressed up in an unspeakable amount of synthetic fibers, your shoes are laced, and your playlist all primed it’s time to take that first step. Often my legs are tight, my shoulders too high and my stride too short – but then i find my pace.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful and solitary.  I live in Canada so often it’s colder than hell and then it gets colder. And then it starts to snow.  But then i look down at my watch and I’m 7 or 8 kilometers down and I didn’t even notice.  Lately i’ve been running along our lakeshore and doing this nice out and back course.  The kilometers tick by and i start to drag at the usual spot: between 22 and 24 km.  This is where I start to question why I am even running and the logic behind it all.  I start to feel doubt creeping into my head and my legs feel like my shoes surely must be filled with concrete.

I can never tell when it will happen but always the realization comes that every step i take from then on is one step closer to  my baby girl who waits for me, my husband, my over the top excited Brittany spaniel,

My favorite running partner

My favorite running partner

my fat cat- my home.  I pick up my pace- just by a few seconds each kilometer. I find another gear even if it’s often ugly.  I remember the reason I am running is first and foremost because I can. I’m healthy and running faster after the birth of my daughter than I ever did before she was born.  I’m fortunate to have a body that does what I ask of it most of the time. Beyond that, I go long so that I can get to the finish line at my goal race (this year it’s the Mississauga Marathon).  And if you’ve run a race, particularly a marathon, you will know that it isn’t the race itself where the real work is done- it’s every Saturday or Sunday during your Long Run.

Remind you of anything?  Every cut, seam and stitch creates this amazing result that even though you made it, takes you by surprise when you complete it. It’s beautiful, and it’s yours.  You created it. We all do a Long Run.